One mother is speaking out in hopes of helping others after her daughter, an Ole Miss student, was kidnapped and raped last week.
The woman’s mother, who requested The Daily Mississippian not release her name, spoke with The DM in a phone interview Tuesday evening.
“My hope is that eventually other women won’t will feel shame when things like this happen to them and will understand through eventually the voice of my child – at the moment, she’s not in the position where she can identify herself – but understand through myself or other people who have made public comments regarding these circumstances that it’s OK to step forward and abuse of this nature should not be something a victim finds to be shameful at all. It’s not,” the mother said.
She said she and her daughter are pleased with how the on-campus resources, including Title IX and the Dean of Students Office, have handled the situation, but thinks it’s important to talk publicly about what her family is going through to raise awareness and education, which are important in preventing this from happening to other people.
“I likened it to if someone shoots you in the foot, you’re going to press charges against them for shooting you in the foot, and you’re not going to be even remotely ashamed to do so,” the mother said. “If someone holds you against your will, beats you black and blue, and proceeds to rape you by every definition of the law in the state of Mississippi, then you need to step forward, and you should not be ashamed to do that.”
Both women hope that this will never have to happen to someone else and that her story can help with that.
“My daughter has said repeatedly, so I will summarize her own words. She has repeatedly said she’s aware that this #MeToo Movement exists, but for her, it is #NeverAgain and #NotYouEither. She is a very, very strong person for stepping forward. She is now the bravest person I know.”
Ole Miss student Dustin McGee, a 20-year-old theater arts major from Brandon, was charged with the kidnapping and rape last week. He was taken into police custody last Wednesday and transported to the Lafayette County Detention Center.
His bond was set at $20,000 by a judge, made up of $10,000 for the rape charge and $10,000 for the kidnapping charge. He has since posted bond.
Oxford Police Department tweeted McGee’s mugshot last week, saying the department took a report regarding a kidnapping and rape April 10 and he was arrested April 11 after investigation. The survivor provided investigators with McGee’s name.
The survivor’s mother reached out to media outlets, telling the publications the bond set for McGee was extremely low and she worries about her daughter’s safety.
The mother told the Clarion Ledger her daughter did not know McGee well, but they were leaving a party at the same time Monday night and he offered to share a ride with her and have it reroute through campus to drop her off.
The mother said her daughter didn’t realize where she was until the Uber arrived at the suspect’s house, and he told her to come inside and wait for another Uber there.
He then locked her daughter inside and “beat, bit and raped her,” according to the mother, who provided a medical report showing her daughter had bruises and hematomas on her neck, breasts, abdomen, genitals, legs and knees and was bitten on her left breast.
The mother said the attack lasted an hour, until the suspect passed out and her daughter was able to escape. She then hid behind a car until she could call an Uber and went to a doctor first thing in the morning.
OPD later tweeted again about the case, “We have already had other people reach out with information or past encounters with McGee.”
OPD Maj. Jeff McCutchen said the department has had at least two other people reach out.
“I don’t believe any of those at this time are Oxford cases, but we are still working with the victims to be sure,” he said in an interview with The Daily Mississippian on Monday morning. “We have also helped get them in contact, if they wanted, with the appropriate agency. There have been some conversations where we just gave advice or we listened, but there were others where they wanted to proceed further, and it just wasn’t our case, but we helped them get in contact with who they needed to.”
He said he thinks this is only the first or second time the department has had other alleged survivors come forward through social media platforms. OPD and other agencies are learning that a lot of times when dealing with sexual assault cases, there are often more survivors of assaults committed by the same suspect who have yet to come forward.
“Because of that, we’re trying to look at avenues to give victims an opportunity to speak,” he said. “I think as great as social media is, we’ve got to use that tool to give people that opportunity. Them speaking with someone could be the door that leads to them later on coming forward to address that criminal activity. We can’t close the door on that – we’ve got to give them an opportunity to speak.”
McCutchen said this case will be heard by the grand jury in May unless any new evidence or circumstances arise.
“It’s very fortunate that a case like that, it can be heard, then the process can begin,” he said. “It’s great for us if we can get that on the docket in May and go ahead get that in the grand jury’s hands; we can get that ball rolling.”
McCutchen said that when a sexual assault case arises in Oxford and involves a student, the protocol is to contact someone in Title IX and Violence Prevention Office.
The Title IX Office deferred questions to the University Communications Office.
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Brandi Hephner LaBanc said she cannot speak to what point the case is at within the university’s process. She said a lot of the process can be dependent on what the complainant involved wants, but the university does have the option to move forward with cases without the complainant if the Title IX investigator and others involved with the case feel it warrants that.
“Really, at that point, it’s reported with the university, the students (both complainant and respondent) are educated on resources and options and it’s really up to the complainant as to where they want to take it from that point.”
“We take any report of sexual misconduct seriously, and we offer support and guidance for individuals involved and impacted by those situations,” Hephner LaBanc said. “I’m really thankful for Oxford Police Department. They take these reports very seriously, and I think we have good law enforcement partners in our community with Lafayette County as well as Oxford.”
Anyone with any further information is asked to call the Oxford Police Department at 662-232-2400.
The University of Mississippi’s Title IX Office number is 662-915-1059, the university’s Violence Prevention Office number is 665-915-1059 and the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline number is 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). Umsafe.olemiss.edu has more resources for the Ole Miss campus.
TWITTER EMBED FOR ONLINE:
(1/2) The Oxford Police Department took a report on April 10, 2018, regarding a reported kidnapping and rape. The victim was able to provide investigators with the name of the suspect who was identified as Dustin McGee (20 of Brandon, MS). pic.twitter.com/fwl9AHeoS0
— Oxford Police Dept (@OxfordPolice) April 12, 2018